Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gay Leaders in Mainline Christian Denominations -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 8

It's not just the Presbyterian Church (USA) that is struggling with gays and those who support gays making inroads into leadership positions. The Episcopal Church, too, has gone down this road, and may be ahead of all the Christian denominations.

In 2003, the Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion) ordained openly gay Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a bishop in the denomination. Understandably conservative Anglican leaders have threatened to lead their churches out of the denomination. The Anglican/Episcopal church has its big denominational meeting once every ten years, and they just had theirs this month outside of London.

For the "sake of unity," according to an Associated Press article by Rachel Zoll (The Pueblo Chieftain, July 12, 2008, pp. 5A, 7A), the head of the Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, barred Robinson and some other bishops from the assembly. Gene Robinson complied, although he went to London and made a noisy protest to remind everybody he was there. He also preached at a sympathetic church there.

According to an article by Jennifer Garza of the McClatchy-Tribune printed in The Pueblo Chieftain (July 19, 2008, pp. 5A, 7A), Bishop Robinson recently did an interview with The Sacramento Bee. When asked if he had any regrets, the Bishop answered, "I regret that this has been a very difficult thing for a lot people. But I am trying to do what I have felt God is calling me to do.

Robinson expressed frustration that he is not allowed to marry his partner of two-decades, Mark Andrew, in their home state of New Hampshire. When asked if they planned to marry during a visit to California, Robinson said, "We have no plans to get married there. We made the decision a long time ago to do what is allowed in New Hampshire. I feel it is easier for me to advocate for the next step toward full marriage rights as a person who has been denied those rights."

Mr. Robinson and Mr. Andrew are not denied any rights. They have every right to marry a woman just like every other man in New Hampshire.

When asked if he was concerned for his safety during his trip to London, Robinson indicated he'd have security, then said, "That's why we [he and Mark Andrew] had the civil union when we did--to protect him if something happens to me."

When asked what it has been like to be focal point in the church over this issue, Robinson reportedly answered:

"Most of the people don't know me and it's really about an issue, not me. I try not to take it personally. On the other hand, it's a constant source of difficulty. Nobody likes having bad karma coming their way, and that's why my prayer life is so important."

Should somebody tell this Bishop, this pretty high-up leader in the Episcopal church that "karma" is not a Christian notion?!

karma: "the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition, p. 681)

Someone should inform Bishop Robinson that, according to this belief, he just acknowledged it is his own actions are causing bad things to come his way.

But more importantly (because karma isn't what really happens in this universe), "karma" is an idea that comes from Hinduism and Buddhism! This is not a Christian idea nor a Christian reality.

But then it would seem Bishop Robinson could stand to learn a lot about true Christianity.

Shame on the Episcopal Church for putting such a man who knows so little about Christian truth in leadership over so many of their flocks. Shame on them for putting this man into leadership.

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil."

Romans 16:17-19 (NIV)

Coming in August:
Interview with author Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pueblo Chieftain columnist bashes Dr. James Dobson -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 7

In the Saturday, July 12, 2008, issue of The Pueblo Chieftain, columnist Christian Piatt admits to being "on a bit of a James Dobson-bashing spree lately" (pg. 5A). (His words, not mine.)

His column on this date gets after Dr. Dobson and "his crew" (Focus on the Family Action, I assume) for running an ad in the Chieftain following the passage of a certain law here in Colorado. Proponents of the law call it an "anti-discrimination law" which, if I understand it correctly, allows people of any gender into more public spaces. Opponents, like Dobson and "his crew," say the new law now allows men/transgenders/gays to use women's restrooms, and Dobson shares his concern for what type of man might now legally enter a woman's restroom and what that person might do to the young, innocent, or weak in there.

In his column, Christian Piatt rails again "Dobson and his anti-gay agenda." He writes, "Ultimately, it seems that the fear behind such ads is about something much greater: the fear of diminishing relevance. Hate, fear and judgment are strong medicine..." And, "I have at least some sense of sadness for those who honestly believe that they are doing what is right, yet they see their agendas slipping away from them as the rest of the country turns toward a more just and humane understanding of community."

Now, I'm assuming Christian Piatt is a Christian, not because of his first name, but because his bio at the bottom of the column states that he is a "music minister at Milagro Christian Church" (Disciples of Christ) here in Pueblo.

As a minister, and as a Christian, Mr. Piatt should know that homosexuality is wrong. Those of us who refuse to give in to political correctness when it contradicts God's Word have been bashed over the head with language like Mr. Piatt uses. We're said to have an "anti-gay agenda." We're told we are motivated by "hate, fear, and judgment." And worse. And on and on...

Not so, Mr. Piatt. We (meaning I, and dare I speak for Dr. Dobson, too?) are motivated by truth as well as love.

The truth is homosexuality is wrong. Transgender gender-confusion is a sad thing. But stating or implying that people can be gay/homosexual and/or transgendered and everything is just fine ... between them and God ... is just as wrong. It's not loving to tell people or imply that wrong behavior is okay and that God is just fine with it.

It's far more loving to tell them the truth. God loves them, yes, just as He loves all of us regardless of what our personal sin is. However His love does not mean we can go on sinning and He overlooks it all and lets us just keep doing as we please. No, He wants to correct our wrong behaviors, often through the instruction of Christians who stand firm for His truth, like Dr. Dobson.

Which is the more loving way, Mr. Piatt: To "love" people who are doing something wrong and never tell them what they will face when they meet God face to face? Or to tell them the truth, so they can make changes in their lives if they choose to, changes that are pleasing to God?

This is one of the (or perhaps THE) major problem in the mainline Christian denominations, like the Presbyterian Church (USA). We now have confused or wimpy people in LEADERSHIP who think it's better to "just love people as they are" than to tell them the truth.

"If we truly love Him, we will trust Him and gladly submit to Him and to His ways. But when we find ourselves making the choice to go our own way, our love for Him is not complete. There are still hard spots in our heart...
"When He shows us those wicked ways--those hard spots in our hearts--and we, in turn submit them to Him, He will melt them away with His great love. He truly does love us just the way we are, but , thankfully, He loves us too much to leave us that way."
Kathi Macias in Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World (New Hope, 2008)
Coming next:
Gay Leaders in Mainline Christian Denominations -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 8
Coming in August:
Interview with author Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bad-mouthing Mainline Denominations -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 6

The bad-mouthing of the large, mainline Christian church denominations has bothered me for a long time. It seems to me it comes mostly from the younger generations.

I haven't read this book, but there's a short article in the July/August 2008 issue of Today's Christian Woman on page 10 that is adapted from the book How Women Help Men Find God by David Murrow.

This little article lists 8 things women should look for in a church if they want their husbands to attend with them. (I'm assuming these are men who are not yet Christians. At least I hope so. Because if this is for men who are Christians, the things this article says men like in a church would reveal as Christians they are really, really shallow. Things like: "modern technology" and "fun services.")

The thing that stood out on the list to me? "No Denominational affiliation."


For quite some time now the mainline denominations have been regarded negatively. That's a shame. Sure, I know they are not without their problems. But there's a lot they do right as well. When you throw away the denomination, you also throw away the foundation that is built on mainline Christianity. They have a history of standing firm in the faith. Of getting it right.

It seems like the "newer" thought is: because the mainline denominations are doing some things wrong, it's right to throw everything away, wipe the slate clean, and start over.

Those who are set on throwing the major denominations down the tubes, whether they are of the younger generations or not, have no idea how much they are throwing away.

Coming next:

Pueblo Chieftain columnist bashes Dr. James Dobson -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 7

Gay Leaders in Mainline Christian Denominations -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 8

Coming in August: My interview with author Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming in August... Author interview with Kathi Macias

I just wanted to let you know I'm planning another author interview in August. We'll be visiting with Kathi Macias about her newest book, Beyond Me, Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World (New Hope Publishers, 2008).

I'm looking forward to seeing what Kathi has to say about living as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Her book promises to help readers who are currently dissatisfied with their present spiritual condition.

Watch for this new interview...

...coming in August.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Hosea Relationship? -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 5

When your denomination does something that you don't agree with, you have to make some decisions. Conservatives have been pushed and pushed in mainline denominations for years, having policies that they see as directly contradicting Scripture pushed on us.

It's ironic that so many scream that we shove religion down their throats. In fact, it is those who wish to change Christianity into what they want it to be that are continually pushing their religion down our throats.


Many of us know in our minds and our hearts--everything that is in us--that these liberal-minded leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are leading this denomination away from the LORD. They can present their arguments and do their mental gymnastics to arrive at some translation of the original language to support their position, but they are wrong. They are being unfaithful to the LORD, and they are leading (or trying to lead) the denomination in unfaithfulness to Him.

So what do we as individual members of a mainline denomination do? And what do we as a local church do?

That day in our home church when our Pastor told us what had taken place at the 218th General Assembly of the PC (USA), he suggested some options. One, of course, was to consider leaving the denomination. Another was to stay in. He reminded us of the story of Hosea, whom God called to marry an adulterous wife. Of course the story's metaphor is to show how God the husband remained faithful to Israel the wife when Israel failed to remain faithful to Him.

It may be that we are called to stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in order to influence it from the inside. We cannot make any difference in the denomination by leaving. I think many leave denominations or a local church (for any reason) thinking their absence will make a statement. Sadly, most aren't missed--or at least not for very long. Only by staying in can we influence anything. That is, in fact, how the liberal-minded people who embrace homosexuals as leaders in the church got it done.

Only by staying in the denomination can we take back our denomination from the grasp of those who are leading it astray.

My gut feeling is conservatives are about to push back. Or maybe that feeling in my gut is only my hope. But if you feel alone, don't forget about how discouraged and alone Elijah felt after he battled the priests of Baal (and won!):

"'...I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.'

"The LORD said to him...'Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

1 Kings 19:14, 15, 18

We are not alone.

For every one of us, I pray there are seven thousand more. And for every one of them, I pray there are seven thousand more. And for every one of them, I pray there are seven thousand more...

Part 6 Bad-mouthing denominations

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stay In or Bail? -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 4

So those of us in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who believe the leadership is leading us in a wrong direction, and are making wrong decisions that are directly in conflict with the Word of God, have to figure out what we're going to do.

What would you do?

I know the answer that many, many people have made: Bail.

It is because of decisions like this, I believe, that many people are bailing out of the main church denominations. It's been going on for a long time, thus the plunging membership numbers. Can you blame them?

Many of us understand why Christians are leaving denominations that are making profoundly disturbing moves like this.

But still, is it the right thing to do?

It has probably been fifteen years ago that I had a conversation with a friend about this very topic. She's a member of another denomination--one I had some experience with when growing up, and not necessarily good experiences. They, too, were struggling through the push of some to ordain homosexuals. (Yeah, even back then.)

I asked her, "How can you stay a part of that denomination?"

She said, "I'm not going to abandon my denomination. I'm going to stay in it and fight for it." And she is to this day.

I've thought about what she said many, many times over the past decade and a half. It took me a while to come around to her way of thinking.

But you know what? I think way too many conservative-minded people have had the same line of thinking that I had. If your denomination does something (or several somethings) that you don't like, bail.

Bail out. Go somewhere else. Find some nice little cozy non-denominational church to attend and forget the big mainline denominations. Right?

Unfortunately, so many conservative-minded people have bailed, I think the percentage of liberal-minded people compared to conservatives has dramatically increased, thus allowing the liberal-minded folks to push through their agendas. Not good.

We can blame it on liberals if we want. But at least half the problem should be blamed on the conservatives who bailed, who refuse to stand up for what is right.

This is just another version of the same decline we see going on in society. The conservative-minded Christians don't stand up and say a word. They (we) just watch what's going on, get frustrated or angry or disappointed or discouraged, and then we go on about our business. It's as if we all think, "Let someone else take care of it. I'm busy." And so the other people are able to push through bad legislation or immoral policies or whatever. And everyone stays frustrated or angry or whatever. But no one stays in the fight.

Whether in society or in the mainline denominations, which do you think we should do? Stay in? Or bail?

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
2 Timothy 3:12-15, NIV

Coming up in future posts:
Part 5 - A Hosea Relationship?
Part 6 - Bad-mouthing denominations

Monday, July 14, 2008

Overnight Change in the PC (USA)'s "Authoritative Interpretation" -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 3

When I first read the about the goings on at GA 218 on the web site (, I didn't understand the gobbledygook about "Authoritative Interpretation."

When we went to our home church, our Pastor explained that the "argument" about ordaining homosexuals has been going on in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for 30 years. The notion has been voted down every time. As long as homosexuality was sin in the PC (USA)'s "Authoritative Interpretation" of the Bible, homosexuals could not be ordained as Pastors.

But you know what? Based on how certain words might be interpreted to from the original language, the PC (USA), at the 218th General Assembly in June, voted to adopt another Authoritative Interpretation.

Presto, change-0. Overnight, everything changed.

Literally overnight, the language in the Authoritative Interpretation that said homosexuality is a sin changed. Guess what.

According to the new Authoritative Interpretation, homosexuality is no longer called sin, paving the way for gays and lesbians to be ordained.

Are you stunned? I was. So were a lot of other people. Like my Pastor.

The only question left is what should we do? Stay in and hang in there? Or bail out of the denomination?

Coming up in future posts: Part 4 - Stay In or Bail?

Part 5 - A Hosea Relationship?

Part 6 - Bad-mouthing denominations

Friday, July 11, 2008

Communicate and Worship (?!) with Muslims -- What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 2

The second item of concern that happened at the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in June was somebody's idea that we Presbyterians need, play nice, I guess, with Muslims.

"Communicate" was mentioned. Okay. No problem.

But then "worship" was mentioned. Huh?

How in the world can Christians worship with Muslims?! Oh wait. I forgot. I keep getting told we all worship the same God. If that were true, I suppose it would be possible to worship together. But we do not worship the same God.

The God I, as a Christian, worship came to earth in flesh, was crucified as a sin offering for the sins of all who accept that, died, and overcame death raising to life three days later. He lives to this day, and is called Jesus Christ.

No Muslim in his or her right mind worships Jesus. My understanding of what Muslims believe is that they believe Jesus was a prophet just like Muhammad, the founder of their faith. So these two are supposed to be equals. Not happenin' here.

We can't worship together. What are the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who say we can? Idiots?

Actually, they may be pretty smart. Like the activist judges who change laws regardless of the voters wishes in secular society, wait until you hear about the fast one they pulled. That in my next post...

Coming up in future posts:
Part 3: Overnight Change: Homosexuality and the PC (USA)'s "Authoritative Interpretation"
Part 4: Stay In or Bail?

Monday, July 7, 2008

What's Up with the Presbyterian Church USA - Part 1

You may know that many of the large denominations of the Christian church are declining in membership. There are probably plenty of reasons -- or at least plenty of opinions as to the reasons.

I can't speak for all the denominations, but as a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), I believe I have a right to talk about (and criticize) this denomination.

The Presbyterian Church has a representative type of government. The individual churches, or groups of churches called presbyteries, aren't told want to do, but have a vote. Every two years, the Presbyterian Church (USA) hold its "General Assembly," that meeting where the business of the denomination is conducted. Delegates are sent from each presbytery.

General Assembly is in June, and in recent years every time you could pretty much count on there being a headliner in the newspapers about something that went on there. Usually it has had to do with the ordaining of (or the refusal to ordain) homosexuals as leaders in the church.

This year, General Assembly came and went and the newspapers seemed suspiciously quiet.

We were able to make a trip to our home church to hear what our Pastor had to say about the goings on at the 218th General Assembly of the PC (USA), which took place June 21-28. I'm grateful for his interpretations--it made sense of some of the complicated stuff I read on the denomination's web site:

I'm no expert in all this stuff, but what I plan to blog about in the next several posts is my understanding of what's up in the Presbyterian Church (USA). (And, of course, my opinion of it all.) (Well, um, that's what a blog is for, right?)

There were three points of concern our Pastor mentioned that Sunday, June 29th. I'll take one at a time.

Part 1: The definition of marriage:

The good news is that the definition that marriage being between one man and one woman stands. The bad news is that it made it out of committee to be voted on.

This should be a no-brainer. Why in the world wouldn't the committee kill this before it ever made it out of committee?! That's disturbing. Those who want to redefine marriage will no doubt keep chipping away at it...hoping to get their way...when this should, in fact, be put down decisively once and for all time. And shame on the leaders of this denomination for not doing so.

Coming up in future posts:
Part 2: Communicating and worshipping (?!) with Muslims
Part 3: Overnight Change: Homosexuality and the PC (USA)'s "Authoritative Interpretation"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lesbians at the Ball Park - Part 5

I had an interesting conversation recently. A relative was traveling on Sunday and wanted to attend church, so he stopped in a Presbyterian church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What he heard in that church he found appalling. And I don't blame him.

The sermon was about "justice" which in some churches now means that everyone should be equal in everything -- the amount of money they have, the rights that are theirs, etc.

In other words, it is wrong for some of us to be wealthy when others are poor. (Wealthy is defined as having more that someone else, so we're all wealthy compared with somebody else.) It means that everyone in the United States (or perhaps they mean the whole world?) has the right to the same rights as U.S. citizens -- whether or not they are citizens or are in this country legally or not. What this amounts to is socialism. And it's being preached from many pulpits in liberal churches today.

My relative said if that nonsense had been preached in his home church, people would have been getting up and walking out.

Many of us have walked out. My husband and I are no longer attending a Presbyterian church because the ones we've tried in the city where we now live preach the same liberal thoughts in a wide variety of topics -- and we just can't stand it.

The Christians who teach this stuff seem to find in Scripture (meaning, the Bible) portions that support their position -- especially in the stories about Jesus. What they don't seem to get is that everything, and I do mean everything, that Jesus did was for one purpose and one purpose only:

To point people to His Father.

The feeding of thousands with only a little food, the parables (fictional stories with a point) that Jesus told, including the outcasts...everything Jesus said and did...had meaning to point people to God.

Some church leaders seem to think it's better to include everyone than to tell them the truth. Like those lesbians in the ball park. We just need to "love" them, right? Well if we truly love them, we will tell them the truth: that homosexuality is wrong. We don't have to be mean about it. It doesn't have to be a big to-do, causing a big scene (although it may become that). We've been scared off about saying any truth about Jesus, but many, many people will respond well if we just tell them the truth. (And those who respond negatively may well respond differently later.)

Shall I say it again? Everything Jesus did was about pointing people to His Father. He started provocative conversations (arguments, really) with people like the Pharisees just to challenge their wrong ideas and point them to Truth.

Nothing in the Bible was ever intended to be used to defend today's ooshy-gooshy, whimpy, everbody's-included-no-one-can-be-left-out, we-can't-tell-them-the-truth-because-it-might-be-offensive-so-just-love-them, sickening sweet, all-inclusive liberality of many of today's churches.

And some wonder why the membership numbers in mainline denominations are plunging. Not all mainline denominational churches are like this, but more and more are becoming so.

God is a God of laws. You obey, you're good with Him. You ignore, weave around, contort, rationalize, twist, or turn upside down His laws, His Word, or His Truth and,'re in deep doo-doo.